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We select teams in October, and trials take place during the first few weeks of term (first to third week). Please come and see us at the sports fair during Intro Week to sign up! A sign up link will also be made accessible via the website shortly. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email us and we will do our best to help.
Please note: Attending trials in at the start of term is the ONLY opportunity to join a team. Those wishing to join later in the year must join as a Leisure member and wait until the next set of trials the following academic year (Sept/Oct 2022). We cannot allow late joining to teams as this is unfair to everyone who had to trial at the start of the year. Even if you were on a team the previous year, for the sake of fairness you must re-trial each academic year, and are not guaranteed a place on the same team or on a team at all.
It is also worth mentioning that Leisure members make up the majority of our club! As there are limited places on BUCS and Development teams, we are always vastly oversubscribed at trials and so it is impossible for everyone to get a place on a team. So please don't be disheartened if you are unsuccessful in October, and check out our Leisure page for more information on the other fantastic opportunities the club has to offer!
Joining a BUCS team is a commitment. As a team member you are expected to attend training regularly (your membership fee includes 8 training sessions across the year), as well as attend weekly compulsory fitness sessions. You must be free on Wednesday afternoons to be on a team, as this is when training takes place. Missing training could lead to you losing your place on a team without a refund. Please do not try out for a team unless you are sure you are able to commit the time necessary.
This is simply a fairness issue; lots of people want to join a team, so we expect those who are selected to make the most of the opportunity. Uni timetables are usually released in intro week/at the start of week one, so you should know before trials if you will have the time to commit. If you do have sessions on a Wednesday afternoon, these are supposed to be left free for sporting commitments so please raise it with committee and we can feedback to the SU Sports Officer.
Don't forget, most of our members are Leisure members, so you can still join the club if you're not ready to commit to teams! Leisure sessions happen throughout the week and on weekends, so you don't have to worry about being free on Wednesdays. If you are unsure, come and see us at the Sports Fair in Intro Week, or contact us if you have any questions!
About BUCS Teams....
The club has an A and B team which compete against other universities in the BUCS leagues. Each team consists of 4 riders, plus some reserves. Each team has 3 or 4 competitions each year within the league, if you win your league then you progress on to regionals and then hopefully nationals too.
BUCS Championship competitions (A Team) consist of riding a Novice level test on an unfamiliar horse, followed by jumping a course up to 90cm on a different unfamiliar horse. BUCS Trophy competitions (B Team and also the rules used to run C and D Team competitions) are exactly the same, but the dressage test will be prelim level and the maximum jump height will be 85cm. The main challenge of the competition is that you ride unfamiliar horses that you will have had only a short amount of time to warm up and get the feel of.
BUCS competitions are run in a very unique but interesting format. It is made up of two phases, a dressage phase and an equitation show-jumping phase where style is marked instead of the standard pure show-jumping scoring system. For both stages, each rider picks a horse from a hat that they will ride against the member of the opposing teams who also drew that horse. A system of penalties is then calculated relating to the scores that each different rider achieved on each different horse. The true beauty of BUCS competitions is the very limited warm up periods. For the dressage phase, the first rider has 10mins to warm up, all other team members only 7mins. In the show-jumping stage, each team member has 5mins and only 4 practice jumps. The rider therefore has to quickly connect with the horse to get the very best performance in a very short period of time. This requires sympathetic and adaptive riding and is a real show of horsemanship. More information and a full set of rules and regulations is available from the BUCS website.
Varsity is the highlight of Sheffield's sporting calendar, where the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam compete in many sporting events across two weeks, earning points and eventually crowning the Varsity champions for the year! Uni Of won Varsity 2019, making it the 7th consecutive win for #teamblackandgold! We also won the point in 2020, however the rest of Varsity was sadly cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Equestrian is proud to be one of the events in Varsity, where one point is up for grabs. Our A and B teams compete in Varsity, and the competition runs with the same rules and setup as BUCS.
Although not officially part of the BUCS leagues, our development leagues follow the same competition format; riders must complete a dressage test and round of show jumping on two horses that are chosen at random (see above for details). The competitions also follow BUCS rules and regulations. There is a C and D team for development, which are aimed at riders who, for example, may have less competition experience than other riders, or may not have the time to commit fully to a BUCS team. The C and D teams are not as pressurised and are more about having fun and learning how equestrian competitions at University work. You must still attend trials to be part of a Development team, as we often have a lot more people wanting to join than we have spaces on the teams!
You must still have the same level of commitment to training and fitness as a BUCS team member to be on C or D team.
In order to be on a BUCS Team or to join Development you must first trial at the start of the year. We hold trials as we always have many more people wanting to join teams than we have places available, and seeing everyone ride unfamiliar horses at trials is the best and fairest way to select the most suitable riders. Everyone must trial to be on a team; even if you were on a team the previous year, this does not guarantee you a place on a team for the next academic year. Attending trials in at the start of term (Sept/Oct) is the ONLY opportunity to join a team. Those wishing to join later in the year must join as a Leisure member and wait until the next set of trials the following academic year. We cannot allow late joining to teams as this is unfair to everyone who had to trial at the start of the year.
What to expect: Please don't get stressed or feel nervous about trialling! It is very relaxed, and you will only be watched by the Captain and Vice Captain - who are both students like you! They may film your riding so they can refer back to the videos when selecting team members. Trials are just to give us an idea of your ability so we can assign you to the most suitable team or membership. Riders will be assigned a horse, and asked to school on the flat (for around 5-10 minutes per horse) as well as over at least one fence of 80-90cm. This reflects what is required in the BUCS and Development competitions. You may be asked to ride more than one horse at trials. It is not a lesson- you will be given very little direction, other than whether the horse you are given is to be ridden on the flat or over a fence. Just ride as you usually would, try to get the best out of the horse(s) you are given, and of course enjoy it!
As a club, we heavily rely on member's cars to transport people to and from training and competitions. If you are considering bringing your car to Sheffield, as a club we'd really encourage you to do this as it helps us out massively, and its a real shame when we have to cancel training or even competitions through lack of drivers. You will of course be reimbursed for petrol, and driving will be shared equally between drivers in the club.
Competitive membership for those selected for BUCS or Development Teams is £200 for the full academic year. This includes:
Please note that if you have competitive membership, you are welcome to take part in lessons outside of team training, such as polo lessons and hacking, but the cost of this is not included in your membership and you would have to pay for this separately.
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The University of Sheffield Union of Students, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TG